​NSW Disaster Recovery

The Department of Communities and Justice, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is responsible for the coordination of recovery functions including disaster welfare. The role of OEM also encompasses operational and planning issues which affect the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of the State, by providing the framework to prepare for and recover from disasters caused by natural means or a terrorist incident.

Disaster recovery is "the coordinated process of supporting disaster affected communities in the reconstruction of the physical infrastructure and the restoration of emotional, social, economic and physical wellbeing". Australian Emergency Manual, Disaster Recovery EMA 2004.

In NSW, the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act (SERM Act) 1989 requires the appointment of a State Emergency Recovery Controller (SERCON) and a Deputy State Emergency Recovery Controller (DSERCON) and details their consequent responsibilities and functions.

The NSW State Emergency Management Plan (EMPLAN) details emergency preparedness, response and recovery arrangements for NSW. It ensures a co-ordinated response to emergencies by all agencies having responsibilities and functions in emergencies.

The NSW Recovery Plan​ is a supporting plan of the NSW State Emergency Management Plan. It outlines the strategic intent, responsibilities, authorities and the mechanisms for disaster recovery in NSW. It is supported by a suite of guidelines that outline the operational objectives and the range of activities that may be associated with recovery operations. The Recovery Plan, together with the guidelines, allow for the development and implementation of a planned recovery following a natural disaster or other emergency.

National principles for Disaster Recovery

Australia has agreed National Principles for Disaster Recovery that provide a basis for the many activities undertaken during the recovery process.

  • Understanding the context - Successful recovery is based on an understanding of the community context.
  • Recognising complexity - Successful recovery acknowledges the complex and dynamic nature of emergencies and communities.
  • Using community-led approaches - Successful recovery is responsive and flexible, engaging communities and empowering them to move forward.
  • Ensuring coordination of all activities - Successful recovery requires a planned, coordinated and adaptive approach based on continuing assessment of impacts and needs.
  • Employing effective communication - Successful recovery is built on effective communication with affected communities and other stakeholders.
  • Acknowledging and building capacity - Successful recovery recognises, supports and builds on community, individual and organisational capacity.